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Marella Cruises Formal Nights – Everything You Need To Know

If you are considering a cruise with Marella you may be wondering if formal nights are part of the cruise experience. I’ve been on two cruises with Marella and was surprised by how relaxed the atmosphere and dress codes were.

That said, many guests do dress up and if you wish to, you won’t look out of place.

Do Marella Cruises Have Formal Nights?

Cruises with Marella have 1 formal night per week. Marella calls their formal nights are called ‘dress to impress’ nights and the dress code does not apply in all restaurants.

Marella have a fairly relaxed approach to dress codes but there is a dress code in place for the main dining room on all nights of the cruise. During this post we explore:

  • When the formal nights happen
  • Formal night dress codes
    • What to wear
      • Men
      • Women
      • Children
    • Where it applies
  • Dining dress codes for non-formal night

How Many Formal Nights Do Marella Cruises Have?

Marella has one formal night on every 7 night cruise. A 14 night cruise would include 2 formals nights and cruises shorter than a week may not have any formal nights.

If you are taking a cruise which is less than 7 night there will usually still be one formal night.

Marella Cruises What To Wear Formal Nights
Some brilliant members of our Facebook group on their Marella cruises!

On Which Day Do Marella Have ‘Formal Nights’?

If your cruise has sea days:

If your cruise has any sea days the formal night will be on a sea day. If you cruise has multiple sea days it could be any of these although it’s more likely to be mid way through the cruise.

If your cruise doesn’t have sea days:

If your cruise doesn’t have sea days the formal night could be almost any day of the cruise. It’s very unlikely that the formal night will be on the first day as guests haven’t had a chance to unpack yet and some may not have their bags. Formal nights also rarely happen on the last night of the cruise as guests may have already started packing.

Dress to Impress Nights

On Marella Discovery/Discovery 2, Explorer, and Explorer 2 Marella have removed the name ‘formal night’ and replaced it with a dress to impress night. This is more of an encouragement to wear something nice rather than a hard and fast rule.

On Marella Discovery, Marella Discovery 2 and Marella Explorer, our Dress to Impress nights are also a great chance to get dressed up, but how dressy you go is completely up to you. – Source

What to Wear on Marella’s Dress to Impress Nights:


Men should wear a collared shirt or polo shirt, paired with chinos or trousers. As far as cruise line dress codes go the ‘dress to impress nights’ on Marella are quite relaxed. You wouldn’t be allowed to dine in the main dining room wearing a shirt with a big logo/writing on the front but as long as you look like you’ve made some effort you’ll be fine.

Some men do like to make an effort and wear bow ties/regular ties, suits/tuxedos. You definitely won’t look out of place for embracing the dress code. You might even get a few compliments from strangers!


Women should wear a dress, skirt or trousers paired with a blouse or top. Heels, flat shoes or smart sandals would be okay.


The dress code for children is generally relaxed a little but teenagers should follow the same dress codes as the adults. Small children don’t really have to wear anything special and as long as they are wearing clean clothes and look relatively presentable you won’t have any problems dining in the main dining room.

What Not To Wear:

For ‘formal’ nights and ‘dress to impress’ nights there are a few things that are not allowed:

  • Swimwear/Beachwear of any kind
  • Jeans
Marella Cruises Dress Code What To Wear
Our Facebook group members enjoying Marella cruises!

Where Does The Formal Night Dress Code Apply?

On some cruise lines the dress code for formal night applies ship wide, this is not the case on cruises with Marella.

The dress codes for the formal/dress to impress nights apply only in the main dining room. One of my favourite things about cruising with Marella is that there are always LOTS of restaurants included in the cruise fare. If you don’t want to take part in formal night you can dine in one of the other restaurants or head to the buffet.

To learn more about what is included in Marella’s cruise fare, check out this post:  Marella Cruises, what does ‘all inclusive’ include?

Main Dining Room Alternatives on a Marella Cruises:

If you don’t want to take part in the formal nights there will be a number of different dining options onboard where you don’t have to. Each Marella ship does have slightly different restaurants but most have some in common. The following list is based on my cruise on the Marella Discovery:

  • Buffet (available on all ships)
    • The buffet is perhaps the most obvious choice but it isn’t the only one. The buffet provides quick grab and go food and can be a great option if you want to grab something light. Equally, if you want to pile your plate high the buffet is a great option for that too.
  • Glass House (on Discovery and Discovery 2)
    • On Marella Discovery the glasshouse is a restaurant by the inside pool which serves pizza, tapas and dishes cooked on hot stones. The glasshouse has a ‘smart’ dress code in the evenings and a casual dress code for lunch. This is much more relaxed than the formal night dress codes and as long as you’re wearing long trousers you’ll be fine.
Marella Discovery Glass House Restaurant Seating Menu
  • Kora La (available on all ships)
    • Kora la is a specialty restaurant onboard and the dress code is also smart.
  • Surf and Turf (available on Discovery/Discovery 2, Explorer and Explorer 2)
    • Surf and Turf is a specialty restaurant and the dress code is also smart.
  • Snack Shack (available on Discovery/Discovery 2, Explorer and Explorer 2)
    • The snack shack is a grab-and-go area by the pool which serves hot dogs, burgers, chicken wings and most importantly, cookies! The dress code for the snack shack is always beachwear so anything goes. It is important that you are wearing shoes for health and safety reasons but this is the only dress code.
Marella Explorer Snack Shack Cookies
Snack Shack Cookies

The snack shack and glass house were two of my favourite places to eat during my cruise on the Marella Discovery. To learn about the other things that you shouldn’t miss onboard check out this post: Marella Discovery: 8 free must do activities (TUI)

What is The Dress Code on Non-Formal Nights with Marella?

On nonformal nights the dress code in the main dining room is usually ‘smart casual’. Shorts are not allowed and guests are encouraged to wear open-necked shirts or dress/trouser combinations.

During our cruise on Marella Discovery we never got changed for dinner. If you are wearing shorts during the day changing into trousers before dinner is advised but apart from that you are free to dine in your normal clothes. I’ve cruised with 13 cruise lines to date and Marella are one of the most relaxed.

Thank You

A MASSIVE thank you to all members of our Facebook group who shared photos for this post. We are a gorgeous bunch if I do say so myself! If you’re not already in our Facebook group, join us here: Emma Cruises Facebook Group.

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